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My site by Jim - Mon, 03/14/2016 - 16:03

This is still my website, though obviously it's gotta go since Koka went as well.

Any suggestions for a new domain?

Categories: Bio

Ladies and Gentleman, your GOP by Jim - Mon, 03/14/2016 - 16:03

I posted a Facebook status chewing out people who ignore politics and say it doesn't matter and they don't care. I got accused of posting a liberal rant full of nonsense about how the GOP wants to gut all sorts of social programs and leave everyone on their own.

Quoting myself:

Not participating in governing or saying you don't care or ignoring it or what have you is participating in their plan.

That means, you're in favor of discontinuing Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, the department of education, the FDA, the FCC, the USDA, the SEC, the CPSC, and FEMA.

Anyway, right down the line. Content from the sources is quoted, my commentary is not. So there's where I come to my conclusions that the GOP wants to gut things and leave eeryone on their own, straight from their own mouths.


"Nothing change for current seniors or those nearing retirement...Medicare is reformed as a premium support system, meaning that existing spending is repackaged as a fixed-amount benefit to each senior that he or she can use to purchase an insurance plan."

Or, in other words, the existing program (with all its economies of scale) is completely gutted and replaced with vouchers that'll allow us to go try to buy insurance from an insurance company. You know, since private insurance companies are the paragon of virtue, efficiency, and compassion.

Social Security:

"If we do not succeed in switching these programs, in reforming these programs from what some people call a defined benefit system, to a defined contribution system- from switching these programs--and this is where I'm talking about health care, as well -- from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually prefunded, individually directed system."

Paul Ryan wants to stop Social Security as it is and make it a voucher system completely dependant upon the stock market. Ask everybody who was about to retire in 2008 how that worked out for them when the economy imploded.

Ryan says that Social Security cannot be reformed and change is pointless. It must be reformed as a voucher system so we can all gamble our money on the stock market and hope for the best.

Here's a novelty - social security is only taxed on wages up to $110,100/year, because that's a tax that has come nowhere close to keeping up with the pace of wages. Perhaps we could raise that first before causing huge changes to the system? Maybe tax up through $200,000? or $500,000/year? The tax rate on employees is 4.2%. So, if the ceiling is raised to $500k, those earners would pay an additional $16380 in tax every year. On their income of $500+. I don't have numbers offhand on how much revenue could be raised just by raising the tax ceiling.


"Mitt will begin by returning states to their proper place in charge of regulating local insurance markets and caring for the poor, uninsured, and chronically ill. States will have both the incentive and the flexibility to experiment, learn from one another, and craft the approaches best suited to their own citizens."

So, again, dismantle the program, provide vouchers to the states and hope for the best. The best part about the existing medicare and medicaid programs is their economies of scale. They're hugely vast which gives them tremendous leverage when negotiating fees, prescription costs, pay rates, etc. At best, this per-state Medicaid would have 1/50 of that negotiating power.

department of education:'s-"f

I stand corrected on this one. Romney once supported eliminating the department, but has since changed his opinion. So I guess we'll just see how their opinions align over the long term.


"We pledge to reform the FDA so we can ensure that the U.S. remains the world leader in medical innovation, that device and drug jobs stay in the U.S., that U.S. patients benefit first from new devices and drugs, and that the FDA no longer wastes U.S. taxpayer and innovators' resources because of bureaucratic red tape and legal uncertainty."

Admittedly, very vague. Nothing beyond a notion of reforming it to ensure that it works more for business to ensure that new devices and drugs can get to market more quickly.

No talk of ensuring safety for consumers, just streamlining the process for business. Color me dubious.


"...we will replace the administration's Luddite ap- proach to technological progress with a regulatory partnership that will keep this country the world leader in technology and telecommunications."

Same deal. Get into bed with industry, ensure that the regulators are more closely tied to the needs of the businesses they're supposed to regulate.

If, say, the NFL allowed individual teams to hire the referees for the games, how would most people like that? Oops, that looks like the Bears scored a touchdown, but the Packers ref ruled it invalid. It's the same deal here.

The Republicans also think that net neutrality is a bad idea and want to abolish it. If you want an immediate effect for that, it means that your ISP can refuse to provide you with Netflix because they instead want you to rent movies from them at 10x the cost. It'd be like the phone company restricting who you are allowed to talk to. The GOP thinks that's a fine idea. Earlier in that same document is the complaint about net neutrality and the implicit desire to revoke it.

The FCC is way out of date and needs better regulatory teeth. It does not need to get into bed with industry.


"The food stamp program now accounts for nearly 80 percent of the entire USDA budget. In finding ways to fight fraud and abuse, the Congress should consider block-granting that program to the States, along with the other domestic nutrition programs."

Same deal as Medicaid - gut it at the federal level, give money to the states, hope for the best that they manage it better. Lose the economies of scale.

Here's something I'd love to have explained to me - supposedly the federal government doesn't work properly and is a mess and we should hand everything back to the states. Why will the state governments work when the federal government has supposedly failed? How are they supposed to work any differently? It's all just government elected by the same people. Why is one competent and the other not? Or is that just a smokescreen to dismantle the federal layer first and then go after the states at a later date?

Of course, the USDA also regulates agricultural research and food safety. See comments below regarding the CPSC and the GOP's stance on regulation.


"The same holds true for the equity market regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. We propose reasonable federal oversight of financial institutions, practical safeguards for consumers, and - what is crucial for this country's economic rebound - sound spending, tax, and regulatory policies that will allow those institutions to once again become the builders of the next American century."

Sounds awesome. What exactly constitutes "reasonable" federal oversight, and who is determining it? The government (i.e., the people), or the corporations that the SEC is supposed to be regulating?


Admittedly, I couldn't find anything specifically referencing the CPSC. I did find this:

"Excessive taxation and regulation impede economic development. Lowering taxes promotes substantial economic growth and reducing regulation encourages business formation and job creation."

"Government spending and regulation must be reined in."

"While small businesses have significantly contributed to the nation's economic growth, our government has failed to meet its small business goals year after year and failed to overcome burdensome regulatory, contracting, and capital barriers. This impedes their growth."

The CPSC regulates the sale and manufacture of more than 15,000 different products, according to Wikipedia. Considering the party's anti-regulation stance, I'd be rather shocked if this agency wasn't directly impacted and gutted.


Federal disaster spending is immoral. Disaster relief should be handled by the states, or even better, by private industry.

Categories: Bio

Why I'll Never Lose Weight by Koka - Mon, 03/14/2016 - 16:03

I joined Weight Watchers about eight years ago, and after a few months I had lost about 25 pounds. Then my weight plateaued, and after struggling for months without losing any more, I decided I'd rather save the money and I quit. A couple of years later, I had gained all of the weight back, had a baby, and gained a bunch more. After more struggling, I joined Weight Watchers again, and after a few more months I lost about 15 pounds. For the next two years, I gained and lost the same 5 pounds, then decided to quit Weight Watchers again. I'd rather keep the money and try to manage my weight on my own. Over the next few months, I gained about 15 pounds, and now I'm heavier than I've been since all of this started.

I think Weight Watchers is a good, solid program. It's built on solid weight-loss principles based on real data. Yet, it only works for a small number of participants. According to a 2008 study (See the article here.), while short-term success is close to 80%, over time most people don't keep the weight off: 26.5% after one year, 20.5% after two years, and 16.2% after five years. Why? In my opinion, a weight loss program can only teach you so much. In the time that I've been involved with Weight Watchers, the program has focused more and more on all aspects of nutrition - not just calories - as well as exercise and behavior/lifestyle changes. Yet the program can't address the underlying issues that many overweight people deal with: medical/health issues, deep-seated habits, psychological issues including depression and low self-esteem, and a largely sedentary lifestyle that involves an inordinate amount of time sitting at a desk. For example, one of my biggest obstacles is emotional eating, which often goes hand in hand with personal or work-related stress.

Another count I have against me is multiple medical issues, both diagnosed and those that are still a mystery. Whether caused by medications or something physiological, I seem to have absolutely no metabolism. I gain weight just by smelling chocolate. I eat a low-caolorie diet (a la Weight Watchers), and my weight doesn't budge. I start exercising, and I gain weight. I eliminate ice cream and candy from my diet, but I'm hungry so I snack on peanut butter; result: I gain weight faster than ever.

I've gotten so much advice from doctors over the years, but I barely understand it, let alone follow it.

  • A few doctors have recommended appetite suppressants, but I'm terrified of the long-term side effects.

  • One doctor told me how what you eat affects how your body processes it. So, if you eat a high-protein diet, your body produces a hormone to burn protein, and it leaves alone the fat. If you eat a died high in carbohydrates, you burn carbs but the fat is still left alone. I think what he was trying to tell me is that if you eat everything in moderation, including some fat, your body will produce hormones to burn all of those elements rather than focusing on just one type of fuel to burn. But I can't even begin to figure out how that translates into a food plan.

  • I heard about the glycemic index on the radio, and it totally makes sense. Eating foods that are low on the glycemic index will keep you fuller longer and you'll eat less; foods that are high on the glycemic index are burned quickly, and thus you stay hungry. Again, how do I even begin?

  • A friend suggested that perhaps I'm not exercising long enough. Exercising for only 20 minutes will only burn sugars but won't break into my fat stores. Exercising for more than 30 minutes kicks your body over to anaerobic activity, which then starts burning fat. But if I can't exercise that long (lack of time, lack of energy), or if I'm not feeling well enough to exercise, how do I ever get to the point where I'm getting enough activity into my life?

So, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Lots of things to think about but no real answers. Lots of suggestions, but they're only just guesses. What I used to think was a science (calories in, calories out) is really more of a guessing game. Kind of like picking the lottery numbers. What are my chances of actually winning?

Categories: Bio